US management of coronavirus data is 'not as robust as it should be,' CMS chief says

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The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on disparities and issues in the healthcare industry such as health data access and reporting, according to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

During Fortune's Brainstorm Health Conference on July 7, Ms. Verma, who also serves as a senior member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, discussed the country's issues surrounding data accessibility and how the pandemic has pushed technology advancements in areas such as telehealth.

"Data to me is integral to everything we're doing here and the United States handling of data is not as robust as it should be," Ms. Verma said, adding that Americans should be able to easily access their health records and data on their personal devices.

Real-time data and reporting from hospitals must also be upgraded so it can support quick reallocation of personal protective equipment and medical devices to emergency centers most in need and facing patient surges. Further, data about clinical trial responses for COVID-19 treatments that are currently "trapped in electronic silos" should be made readily available and shared openly across the U.S., Ms. Verma said, according to the report.

Ms. Verma did highlight the advancements in telehealth across the country and called upon Congress to increase telehealth access and services for those in Medicare after the pandemic ends.  

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